English Only - Red/Yellow Cards

Many of the organizations in Bangladesh are facing problem to create 'English-only' environment. Both of the Management and teachers are blaming each other rather than going for the practical solution. However, there are some different organizations where some successful strategies were implemented to create the 'English-only' environment and they're still going with them. It is a matter of sorrow that we don't know much about them to motivate ourselves.

Ms. Imogen Custance from Kwansei Gakuin University, Kobe, Japan has designed an activity - 'English Only - Red/Yellow Cards' to run English environment in a classroom. I've been informed about this activity in an event conducted by BELTA, THT and Eastern University on 14-15 September 2018.

Concept and Theory:

The desire to convey a message successfully is a key component of communicative language teaching. Communicative activities are fun because they give students a chance to learn new things from and about their peers; they encourage students to exchange and discover new information. However, this type of genuine communication can also create challenges when students share a common L1. One way to overcome this issue is by changing the students with being language monitors. A student monitor referees a conversation. When a student uses the L1, they are given a yellow card warning; if they use it again they are given a red card and are out of the conversation. The challenge for the students is to see who can stay in the conversation the longest. [Developing Dynamism in the language Classroom, September 14-15, 2018, BELTA-EU-THT English Language Education Program]

Basic Procedure:

1. Students in groups 4/5
2. One student is a 'referee' with red and yellow cards 3. Students have a conversation
  • If someone uses the L1 - yellow card
  • If someone uses the L1 again - red card
4. If a student gets a red card, they are out of the conversation. They make a note of why they used the L1
  • Not focused on using English - focus more next time
  • Didn't know the English - make a note and check the dictionary. Use the English next time!
5. See which student stay in the conversation the longest Alternatives and Auditions: 1. Class conversation challenge
  • 1-4 as in Basic procedure.
  • Teacher is referee
  • Yellow cards - using L1 and/or saying something unconnected/confusing
  • Winning student
-Last student in the conversation - smaller class (?)
-Most English utterances in a set time - bigger/higher level class
2. Timed conversation
  • 1-4 as Basic Procedure
  • When N-1 students have red cards
----Change referee
----Everyone is back in the conversation
  • Winning student
-Who gets the least red cards in X minutes
-Most English utterances
3. Maximum sit-out time

  • Students automatically re-join the conversation after X minutes
4. Post-conversation vocabulary follow-up
  • Independent vocabulary review
  • Students share any useful, new vocabulary with the class
- Develop a class list that can be used for tests
Challenges:
In this activity, putting students in the conversation is the challenging part for a teacher. Students may feel shy or lack of confidence can make inactive group members. Possible Solutions:
Ms. Custance suggested choosing a common topic related to our general life that the students can get interested in it. For 4/5 groups in a large class, I think it's better to give group penalty for using L1 to run this activity successfully.

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